History Lessons: Star Trek 25th Anniversary

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Roughly two years ago, I decided to watch all of Star Trek. This began with the original series, which I’d never seen before; I was only familiar with the original cast from the films. Not long afterwards, I saw that Star Trek 25th Anniversary — a game starring the original cast that I played a lot after its original release in 1992 — was re-released on GOG, and I snapped it up. The timing seemed fortuitous, but I wanted to finish watching the original series before playing, so I played some other games instead. Then it got lost in the shuffle. Now, I’ve almost finished watching every Star Trek episode, across its five different incarnations (I did take a few breaks, mind), and I realized I had better play Star Trek 25th Anniversary before that happens.

I also realized that the timing is perfect yet again, because I’m playing Star Trek 25th Anniversary 25 years after its release. I promise I didn’t plan it that way.

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Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 4)

If you are unfamiliar with Solium Infernum, you may wish to read my earlier post about the game. And you should definitely read part 1, part 2 and part 3 first. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Last time, my archfiend pair Rufus and Big Beak had finally amassed enough Prestige to arrange a duel for their praetor, Morax. But first it looks like they’ll have to deal with Xaklyth, to the south, who demanded some resources that they didn’t feel like paying. Here is what happened.

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Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 3)

If you are unfamiliar with Solium Infernum, you may wish to read my earlier post about the game. And you should definitely read part 1 and part 2 first. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Last time, my archfiend pair, Rufus and Big Beak, had just acquired the services of Morax, a praetor who will win fame and fortune for them through single combat in the Arena. But to arrange some duels, they need to earn some Prestige to wager with. So I decided they should hurl an insult at Inquis, who seems to be in no position to retaliate. Here is what happened.

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Saying Farewell To Skyrim

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

My Skyrim character, Nhazki, has completed the game’s main quest line, which I had arbitrarily chosen as the point at which I would be finished with the game. There are still things that Nhazki could do, of course. Guilds she didn’t join, quests she didn’t pursue (or even find), and even an entire city she never set foot in (although I did, with a previous character). But this felt like the end of her journey. This came with a certain sadness, because I’m aware I’m unlikely to return to the game again. But it’s time to move on, and reflect on my time with the game here.

I wrote a lot about Skyrim when I first played it years ago. On my return, I outlined the set of mods I planned to use, discussed the handling of gender and race in the game, wrote about its enduring appeal, and chronicled how I found (and embraced) some grind. Here, I’ll discuss some final thoughts and reflect on how the mods I’ve chosen affected the experience.

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Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 2)

You should definitely read part 1 first. If you are unfamiliar with Solium Infernum, you may wish to read my earlier post about the game first. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Six archfiends are vying for the throne of Hell. In part 1, I described designing my archfiend(s), Rufus and Big Beak, who will focus on winning Prestige through praetor duels in the Arena. I took stock of my opponents, and decided that my top priority was to purchase the praetor Morax. Since I didn’t have enough resources, I used both of my order slots to demand more. Here is what happened.

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Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 1)

If you are unfamiliar with Solium Infernum, you may wish to read my earlier post about the game first. Also, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I’ve written about Solium Infernum before. At length. That was three years ago, and I haven’t played Solium Infernum since. Until now, that is. Over the winter holidays, I realized I had a hankering for its long-form, slow burn brand of strategy and treachery. But the group I used to play with had long since disbanded, so I needed to find some new opponents. I tried the Cryptic Comet forums, which were historically the best place to find other players, but it seemed no one visits them anymore. Without much hope, I dropped by the RPS Solium Infernum Steam group and left a message in the void.

I heard nothing for a couple of days, and was certain that everyone who used to play Solium Infernum had moved on. It was a complete surprise when I finally got a response. And then another, and another. And some of them knew other people who might be interested. Soon, I was starting a brand new game of Solium Infernum against five strangers from different places across the globe.

Now, two months later, that game is finished. This is the first of a series of posts detailing the game turn by turn, inspired by the Gameboys From Hell series on Rock, Paper, Shotgun that originally inspired me to buy Solium Infernum way back in 2010. Before getting started, I recommend you read my earlier post about the game, to give you an idea of what it’s about.

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Finding The Grind In Skyrim

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

The concept of “grind” appears often when discussing games, especially role-playing games. It refers to performing repetitive tasks, over and over again, for incremental gains, and typically derided as evidence of poor design that encourages “un-fun” behavior in players. I discussed the concept a little in my History Lesson post about Final Fantasy, as it is often associated with Japanese-style role-playing games, especially older titles. But grind can appear in any game. The Elder Scrolls series, with its concept of character skills improving with practice, could easily fall into this trap. Players could just sit around practicing magic or swordplay all day instead of actually heading out on an adventure. But I’ve never felt the desire to do this; the games offer so much to do, why not head out and do it, and train on the job?

So I was surprised that I not only found the one aspect of Skyrim that encourages grind, but fully embraced it.

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